Camouflage

Methods of Silence

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Camouflage entered the synth pop game when most people had already moved on, which spelled trouble for their 1989 sophomore album. The total absence of acknowledged humor in Camouflage's material contrasted sharply with the vibrancy of the ensuing decade, and the album's widening addition of violins, saxophones, and guitars couldn't prevent the band from being forced into a prematurely outdated pigeonhole. In hindsight, this was the LP's biggest problem. "On Islands" and "One Fine Day" were sweet, multi-textured pop that swayed like a hammock strung between industrial pylons, while "Rue de Moorslede" regaled itself with a taut instrumental of circus organs, filtered horns, and the recurring sound of doors slammed shut. It was the opposite of '90s IDM -- frustratingly simple, sonically precise, forever reliant on pop song structure and, along with Depeche Mode's Violator a year later, one of the last times when a band could get away with it.

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